Thursday, October 19, 2017

Cakes of the World - Napolyeon Tort

This cake is the national dessert of Russia. It's made up of 16 layers of crispy pastry filled with a homemade custard. When I looked at the recipe the day I made this cake I wondered what on earth I'd been thinking. Past Emma really pulled a fast one on Present Emma who wasn't keen on making such a complicated looking cake!


For the pastry:
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2  egg whites
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 cups flour 
  • 4 tablespoons butter
For the custard:
  • 6 cups milk
  • 10 egg yolks
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 16 tablespoons butter 

To make the pastry, mix together the butter and sugar until creamy.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff.

Fold the egg whites into the butter mix along with the salt and sour cream.

Add the flour a tablespoon at a time and mix well to combine. You should end up with a soft pliable dough. I did after adding another cup of flour. Wrap this dough in clingfilm and chill for an hour (longer if possible).

Preheat your oven to 190C and line two baking sheets with paper. Divide the dough into 16 pieces and roll out each one to a circle roughly 8 inches in diameter. I did mine slighly smaller than that so I could fit 2 per baking tray. Bake for 6 to 10 minutes until golden brown and slightly crispy on the edges. Keep going until you have a stack of 16 pastry circles.

Now to make the custard. Pour the milk into a big pan and warm through.

Beat together the egg yolks with the egg white and sugar.

Stir in the flour.

It makes quite a thick mixture. Pour this mixture into the warm milk and stir constantly until it's well combined.

Add the vanilla and butter, continue stirring over a low heat until thick and creamy. The custard smells fantastic at this point.

My custard did not thicken at all. The recipe tells you to let it thicken on a low heat but mine only got thicker by letting it heat up and almost boil.

Let the custard cool so you can assemble the cake. Place a pastry disc on a plate and add a layer of custard. Keep going until you've used all the pastry up finishing with pastry on top. Put in the fridge for about 4-5 hours. (long time to wait for cake!)

I really didn't know what to expect from this cake. Mine didn't really look like others I'd seen online. I felt like it'd be impossible to slice even. But when it came out of the fridge it was all soft. The custard had soaked into the pastry making it easy to slice. The custard had a lovely caramelised flavour and the very edges of the pastry were still crispy. It's like nothing I've tasted before but I can tell you it was delicious!

The recipe I used called it time-consuming but worth it. I have to agree!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Cakes of the World - Purukook

These cake bars are Estonian and are sometimes called Streusal Cake or Crumb Cake. It's a nice simple recipe with only a few ingredients, I just had to buy some more jam and I was good to go!


400g flour
85g sugar
A pinch of salt
200g butter
1 egg
1 jar of jam

Put the flour, sugar and salt in your mixer. 

Cut up the butter and add it to the bowl. Use the whisk attachment to mix into breadcrumbs.

Take out a third of the breadcrumb mix and set aside for a topping. Mix the egg into the remaining crumble and it'll form into a dough. press this dough into a greased or lined baking tray. I really need to get myself a square baking tray. The one I use is rectangular and too big, the mixture never fits so I have to scooch it to one end to make it work.

Spread the jam on top of the base. (I look like I'm involved in some product placement in this photo, I'm not getting paid I promise!)

Now sprinkle that saved crumble mix on top of the jam. Cover it quite heavily because I thought I'd done enough but it sinks into the hot jam when you bake it.

Bake for 30 minutes at 200C. At 28 minutes I could smell that it was just about done. I really like when recipe baking times are spot on as they're so often a bit off due to differences in oven temperatures. Let the cake cool for 5-10 minutes then cut into squares.

Leigh and Erin were quite unimpressed with this cake offering. Erin says they make it at her school for lunches and she's had it before. (Confirmed by Leigh, as Erin often claims to have tried a food before to avoid it). So much for giving them new food experiences! Haha. I really liked the streusal topping, it tasted a lot like eating fruit crumble and I'd like to try these cake bars warm with some custard. I liked how easy they were to make and that the base had a nice crumbly shortbread taste to it.

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